A LIFELONG LOVE OF FOOD and two years spent working at a vacation resort in Suffolk, United Kingdom, led Christo Pretorius to a culinary career. Now the small boy who grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is the award-winning executive chef of all restaurants and banquets and events at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town.
While following in the footsteps of his mentor, Henrico Grobbelaar, under whom he worked as executive sous chef at The Twelve Apostles, Pretorius also made his own mark at the hotel with inventive new menus focused on international and local cuisine. He also makes a mark on the community, recognized for his efforts on sustainable seafood practices, participating in events centered around youth development and more. He’s received a number of accolades.
“My goal as a chef is to create lasting memories. Engaging all senses is what creates truly special memories that diners will cherish forever,” said Pretorius. From the sounds of it, mission accomplished.
WHICH FOOD IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? AND ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM, WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT OR FOOD YOU HATE TO USE? Guilty pleasure is a tin of condensed milk (I’m not entirely sure what the U.S. equivalent is); for some reason, I cannot resist it. My mother used to make me eat gem squash as a child, like all moms do, stuffed with corn and gratinated with cheese. I cannot cook with it at all now.
WHAT DISHES WOULD YOU SERVE AT A PRIVATE DINNER PARTY? That depends who my guests are! My wife, something Asian; my friends, something on a braai/barbecue grill that I caught myself; and for a VIP, I’d serve one of my signature Azure dishes, like the grilled baby squid with barley risotto, creamed artichoke, barley puffs, soy truffle purée, soy pickled shiitake mushrooms and green onion oil.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEAL YOU EVER PREPARED ON YOUR OWN? One of the first really cool items we learned to make at chef school was marshmallows. I was so intrigued by the way you can whip up egg whites and create something so magical. Early on in my career, my menu was filled with weird and wonderful flavored marshmallows. Looking back, I definitely overdid them.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE IN ONE DISH, WHICH DISH WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Springbok loin with pickled apple, red cabbage, cranberry gel, celeriac purée and roast springbok jus. I have always been proudly South African. We, as South African chefs, are incredibly lucky with the quality of produce we get here. If you have traveled elsewhere, you realize how lucky we are to be able to afford the quality, abundance and variety of meats and vegetables available to us in South Africa. We need to respect and celebrate it in our profession as much as we can.
WHICH CULINARY TREND WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISAPPEAR? Slate plates! If you’ve ever put your knife into a steak and cut into a slate plate, you’ll know what I mean. We shouldn’t compromise the dining experience by wanting something to look sexy. It should feel and eat well, too. Operating equipment evolved so much in the past decade, but it should enhance the experience, not the other way around.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Hotel San Luis Obispo partners with Harmony Cellars for the SLO in Harmony offer. The offer includes 15 percent off a two-night stay Sunday–Thursday, a complimentary wine tasting for two at Harmony Cellars, club member discounts at the winery for the day and the opportunity to explore the town of Harmony, California, population of 18 and located 30 miles from San Luis Obispo. Book online.
Enjoy additional perks at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with the Vitamin Sea, D & Me offer. Rates begin at $130 per night, including complimentary breakfast daily, a healthy starter at Arrecifes Restaurant, one poke bowl and one drink at El Palmar Restaurant. The use of one beachside pergola per stay is also included. The offer is valid on stays through Dec. 21, and use code S5706 to book.